I recently wrote an article that addresses the subject of sociopaths and how they insinuate themselves into society. Although the subject doesn't speak directly to what stock you should buy or sell to increase your wealth, I think it's critical to success in the markets. It goes a long way towards explaining what goes on in the heads of people like Bernie Madoff and therefore how you can avoid being hurt by them. But there's a lot more to the story. At this point, it seems as if society at large has been captured by Madoff clones. If that's true, the consequences can't be good. So what I want to do here is probe a little deeper into the realm of abnormal psychology and see how it relates to economics and where the world is heading. If I'm correct in my assessment, it would imply that the prospects are dim for conventional investments – most stocks, bonds and real estate. Those things tend to do well when society is growing in prosperity. And prosperity is fostered by peace, low taxes, minimal regulation and a sound currency. It's also fostered by a cultural atmosphere where sociopaths are precluded from positions of power and intellectual and moral ideas promoting free minds and free markets rule. Unfortunately, it seems that doesn't describe the trend that the world at large and the US in particular are embarked upon. In essence, we're headed towards economic and financial bankruptcy.
Size of Banks Killing Economy … But Giant Banks Have Only Gotten Bigger Since Financial “Reform” Enacted
Gallup Finds Obama, Romney In Dead Heat As Daily Tracking Begins, With Independents Leaning Toward GOPSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/16/2012 14:05 -0500
Now that the GOP primary is essentially over, and Mitt Romney is set, for better or worse, to be the Republican frontrunner, Gallup has launched its daily tracking poll to keep an eye on each one's presidential prospects. Not surprisingly, the result is a dead heat. "Mitt Romney is supported by 47% of national registered voters and Barack Obama by 45% in the inaugural Gallup Daily tracking results from April 11-15. Both Obama and Romney are supported by 90% of their respective partisans." What is curious is that "The crucial voting bloc of independents breaks toward Romney by 45% to 39%, giving the GOP challenger his slight overall edge." So will Obama now be forced to make a moderate push to attract what will likely be the critical voter constituency in November? We will find out over the next few months.
The extent of Obama’s duplicity continues to grow apace. And yes — it’s duplicity. If you can’t or won’t fulfil a promise, don’t make it. From Bloomberg: "Two years after President Barack Obama vowed to eliminate the danger of financial institutions becoming “too big to fail,” the nation’s largest banks are bigger than they were before the credit crisis." And the hilarious (or perhaps soul-destroying) thing? The size of the banks isn’t even the major issue. AIG didn’t have to be bailed out because of its size; AIG was bailed out because of its interconnectivity. If AIG went down, it would have taken down assets on balance sheets of a great deal more firms, thus perhaps triggering even more failures. So the issue is not size, but systemic interconnectivity. And yes — that too is rising, measured in terms of gross OTC derivatives exposure, as well as the size of the shadow banking system (i.e. pseudo-money created not by lending but by securitisation) — which sits, slumbering, a $35 trillion wall of inflationary liquidity ready to crash down on the global dollar economy.
All you need to read and some more.
How to Adapt to Any Climate Change – Global Warming or Cooling – and Save Money In the Process
Assymmetric Secret Servicing Initiative: Obama's Colombia Visit Found To Subsidize Local Alternative Monogamy MarketSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/13/2012 22:35 -0500
Obama may not be the most successful president when it comes to creating jobs at home, but when success is measured by the number of blowjobs outsourced abroad, he may be truly second to none, as his visit to Colombia proves before it has officially begun. According to the AP, "A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty because of allegations of misconduct." Relieved here being a perfectly randomly selected verb. Because according to a tip received by The Associated Press "the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, the site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that allegation." Or, as Goldman would call it, an "Asymmetric (Secret) Servicing Initiative" where much more than just inside information is leasked. Unfortunately, while he may be far more successful in generating jobs in Latin America than domestically, even those jobs have proven to be quite transitory, just like virtually all quickie temp jobs "created or saved" in the US in the past several years. Furthermore, just like in the US, we doubt that the incremental wealth benefits will trickle down to the local population. After all, unlike in the US, endogenous Colombian liquidity may be abundant everywhere but certainly not at the central bank, which is far, far tighter at a rate of 5.25% (and rising), compared to extra loose central planners the "developed" world over.
- With a 2 Year delay, both FT and WSJ start covering the shadow banking system. For our ongoing coverage for the past 2.5 years see here.
- Trouble in shipping turns ocean into scrapheap (Telegraph)
- First-Quarter Home Prices Down 20.7% in Capital (China Daily)
- Bernanke Says Banks Need Bigger Capital Buffer (Reuters)
- Monti’s Overhaul Can’t Stop Pain From Spain: Euro Credit (Bloomberg)
- Spain Confronts Crisis Threat as Rajoy Seeks Deficit Cuts (Bloomberg)
- Japan’s Noda Announces Anti-Deflation Talks as BOJ Sets Policy (Bloomberg)
- White House makes case for Buffett Rule (CNN)
- Cameron to Make Historic Myanmar Trip (FT)
- 'Time for Closer Ties' With India (China Daily)
- China's Central Banker to Fed: Act Responsibly (WSJ)
- Spain's debt to jump to 78 percent of GDP: De Guindos (Reuters)
- Rajoy Needs All the Luck He Can Get (WSJ)
- Spain Faces Risks in Budget Refit (WSJ)
- Top JP Morgan banker resigns to fight abuse fine (Reuters)
- Reinhart-Rogoff See No Quick U.S. Recovery Even as Data Improve (Bloomberg)
- Program to help spur spending in domestic sector (China Daily)
- Barnier hits out at lobbying ‘rearguard’ (FT)
- U.S. CEOs' take-home pay climbs on stock awards (Reuters)
Watching pompous politicians, egotistical economists, arrogant investment geniuses, clueless media pundits, and self- proclaimed experts on the Great Depression predict an economic recovery and a return to normalcy would be amusing if it wasn’t so pathetic. Their lack of historical perspective does a huge disservice to the American people, as their failure to grasp the cyclical nature of history results in a broad misunderstanding of the Crisis the country is facing. The ruling class and opinion leaders are dominated by linear thinkers that believe the world progresses in a straight line. Despite all evidence of history clearly moving through cycles that repeat every eighty to one hundred years (a long human life), the present generations are always surprised by these turnings in history. I can guarantee you this country will not truly experience an economic recovery or progress for another fifteen to twenty years. If you think the last four years have been bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Hope is not an option. There is too much debt, too little cash-flow, too many promises, too many lies, too little common sense, too much mass delusion, too much corruption, too little trust, too much hate, too many weapons in the hands of too many crazies, and too few visionary leaders to not create an epic worldwide implosion. Too bad. We stand here in the year 2012 with no good options, only less worse options. Decades of foolishness, debt accumulation, and a materialistic feeding frenzy of delusion have left the world broke and out of options. And still our leaders accelerate the debt accumulation, while encouraging the masses to carry-on as if nothing has changed since 2008.
In the initial stages of nearly every recorded tyranny, the saucer eyed dumbstruck masses exhibit astonishing and masterful skill when denying reality. The facts behind their dire circumstances and of their antagonistic government become a source of cynical psychological gameplay rather than a source of legitimate concern. Their desperate need to maintain their normalcy bias creates a memory and observation vacuum in which all that runs counter to their false assumptions and preconceptions disappears forever. It is as if they truly cannot see the color of the sky, or the boot on their face. The concrete world of truth becomes a dream, an illusion that can be heeded or completely ignored depending on one’s mood. For them, life is a constant struggle of dissociation, where the tangible is NOT welcome… This is the problem that we in the Liberty Movement deal with most often in our writings and films. Our confrontation with willful ignorance has been epic, even by far reaching historical standards. The gains in social awareness have been substantial, and yet the obstacles are incredible. Unprecedented. As an activist trend, we have an almost obsessive drive to draw back the curtain so that the public has at least the opportunity to see what is on the other side. Unfortunately, there is another danger that must be taken into account…
European markets got off to a bad start following early reports that the Greek PM has not ruled out a further aid package for the country, however European cash equities are now trading higher as US participants come to market. Markets have been reacting to the announcement from EU’s Juncker that the Eurogroup has agreed upon Eurozone bailout funds of EUR 800bln. Elsewhere in the session, FPC member Clark commented that the FPC should not aim to stimulate credit growth in the UK, adding that direct intervention in the mortgage market is too politically volatile, but may be considered in the coming years. Following the reports, GBP/USD spiked lower around 15 pips, however it remains in positive territory, moving above the 1.6000 level in recent trade. In terms of data, the Eurozone CPI estimate for March came in just above expectations at 2.6%, 0.1% above the 2.5% consensus. The market reaction to this data, however, was relatively muted as participants await Eurogroup commentary. Looking ahead in the session, participants await commentary on the Spanish budget, US Personal Spending and Canadian GDP.
In a double-whammy of mounting geopolitical tension, Channel News Asia reports that North Korea has started fueling a rocket in preparation for a launch date set for April 12 or 13. The supposed 'satellite launch' is being considered a missile test by the West and in the meantime snubbing Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama for his 'confrontational mindset'. In retaliation Pyonyang will not be receiving food aid (according to a Pentagon official). Meanwhile, Israel National News highlights that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have taken the unprecedented step of canceling the long-customary leave for Passover and will instead remain on full alert. Careful to point out that this action did not stem from any planned military action (though soldiers dismissed that as obfuscation), IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said Wednesday he gave the order saying he "does not accept" the notion of an army-wide vacation during Passover. A growing cadre of senior security officials and former IDF chiefs have called for a major Gaza incursion to uproot the terror infrastructure there. Gantz himself has described such an operation as "increasingly inevitable."
All you need to read and some more.